Was the Ottoman Empire really history’s longest-lasting empire? | Byzantine Blog

The majesty of Istanbul’s ‘Blue Mosque’ (Tetra Images/Getty Images)

It was one of the most resilient empires in world history, but how did it start? And why did it end?

This article was first published in the May 2016 issue of History Revealed

Was the Ottoman Empire really history’s longest-lasting empire?

That’s a debate that is hard to fit into a nutshell. But, the ever-changing world power – an Islāmic network of countries comprising much of the Mediterranean coast (besides Italy) – began in 1299 and did not conclude until 1922.

This means that it certainly outstripped the British Empire in terms of…

Source: Was the Ottoman Empire really history’s longest-lasting empire? | Byzantine Blog

ISIL and Sykes-Picot

toritto

Fat Chance

Several months ago, ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, announced it’s intention to do away with the borders of the modern Middle-East. It already controls territory spanning the “border” between Iraq and Syria. “Levant”, a more accurate translation of the Arabic “Al Sham” also includes Lebanon, Jordan and the old “Trans Jordan”, now Israel and the Palestinian territory. ISIL considers these lands as Sunni patrimony.

The murderous tactics of ISIL are reprehensible but do they have a legitimate grievance against the colonial borders originally drawn by Britain and France with blatant disregard for the sectarian loyalties of the local populace?

The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement is a flash-point for Arab resentment. It divided Ottoman Asia into British and French zones of influence. Britain was assigned the Baghdad and Basra districts — Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine. Modern day Syria and Lebanon were given to France.

Britain wished…

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Days that live in Infamy: The Fall of Constantinople

Byzantine Blog

Mehmet the Conqueror enters Constantinople

Faced with the certainty of death it is said that experienced soldiers are ready to make that last leap into the fray, knowing that they have only one fate. A man schooled in princely duties such as Constantine XI Dragases Palaeologos knew his duty and on this day, 29 May in 1453 he died fighting for his empire, his people, and his faith.

By Tom Sawford

After a series of unrelenting attacks by the Ottomans since 1.30 am, Constantine was at his post at the Lycus valley at aaround 7.00 am but it was clear that all seemed lost now. He gave final orders to his friends John Dalamata and Don Francisco de Toledo, and weighed in to fight hand to hand beside his troops fighting desperately in one last bid to throw back the enemy.

How tired he must have been. Covered in the…

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